Kim Shek


As I returned to the world of music, the shadow of retirement and illness haunts me no more.

At the age of 55, I almost lost my life to a cardiovascular disease. When I left the ICU, I felt like stepping out of hell. Since then, I was forced to retire from being a restaurant owner and spent most of my time resting at home.


During the first two years of retirement, my health condition was less than ideal, I could only rest at home. I was depressed for not being able to do anything. One day when I was cleaning the house, I accidentally found the guitar that was put away for over 30 years. It seems to be a call for me, returning to the world of music that release me from the shadow of retirement and illness. Because of music, I met friends from different places; I became a volunteer to help the needed; I shared music with people, kept them and myself entertained. Later I joined E Major Ensemble as a percussionist, and had my first taste performing on stage. My retirement life has become colorful and meaningful.

Looking back at the six years since diagnosing with heart disease, all long it seemed to be coincidences after coincidences, yet essentially connected to each other. At first, I bought some textbooks, trying to learn playing the guitar on my own. My daughter teased how unfitting the guitar and I were to each other, that we sing our own melody. My daughter's tease inspired me to switch back to my primary school days favorite: the harmonica. Later I joined the percussion class organized by a community body and became acquainted to many volunteers. This provided me opportunities to perform with those suffer from Down Syndromes and to tutor Parkinson’s patients the harmonica. From there on, music is no longer merely self-entertain, but spread of joy.


Music is becoming increasingly more important in my retired life, so are the happiness and touching moments that come along. Among them, I am most impressed and moved by the perseverance of the Parkinson’s harmonica team. 

Their founder, Dr. Chan had become so ill and had to live on the machines. Yet this did not scare or discourage the team members. Contrarily, they faced their life with braveness and persistence. Despite their poor physical conditions, they never gave up practicing, in the hope to pass on their passion towards harmonica and life within the team. They never gave up on their pursuit in music, and it motivated me to carry on with mine.


Apart from serving the community with music, I took a step further and auditioned for E Major Ensemble’s percussionist. In the ensemble I met many friends who shared the same passion and vision in music with me. We play music together, have fun together and support each other along the way. In times when we are tired and hopeless, we become each other’s motivation to hang on. We are not restrained to our age or ability. Together we are able to breakthrough our limitations and enjoy the satisfactions that follow.


I have been a member of the E Major Ensemble for over a year. One other thing that I am very grateful, is to have met a patient conductor. He listens very carefully to every section in each rehearsal, and points out parts to us that have to work harder on. Thanks to his guidance, I am able to improve. Moved by his time and effort put in the orchestra, I hope to do my best as a percussionist. In the coming performance, one of the song on the E Major Ensemble's performing list is Little Sun, which a children choir will sing along. I am looking forward to this cross-age collaboration.


Through music, I am no longer depressed despite my illness; through sharing music, I help those who suffer the same path as I did; through the resonance of music, I am warmed by the power of helping others and self-help, my life is once again energized.